Sci-tech

United States spacewalkers fix ageing ISS robotic arm

United States spacewalkers fix ageing ISS robotic arm

In the first of three planned spacewalks, NASA astronauts Randy Bresnik and Mark Vande Hei will go outside the International Space Station to fix the ISS main robotic appendage.

This will be the first of three spacewalks taking place this month for maintenance at the International Space Station.

Bresnik and Vande Hei will venture back outside October 10 while Joe Acaba will join the station commander for the October 18 excursion.

During three spacewalks on October 5, 10 and 18, astronauts will replace an aging Latching End Effector (LEE) at the end of the Canadarm2 robotic arm. Now, efforts will focus on the robotic arm, informally known as Canadarm2. Bresnik and Vande Hei will conduct the second spacewalk together.

The arm is integral to space station operations and can extend 60 feet off ISS, grabbing visiting cargo vehicles and payloads. As extravehicular crewmember 1 (EV 1), Bresnik gets to wear the suit with red stripes on it, while Vande Hei (EV 2) will wear a plain white suit.

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The Canadian-built arm has been in orbit for 16 years. The arm also can mount itself atop a mobile transporter that runs on rails along the front side of the station's solar power truss to move the arm to various work sites.

Linking students directly to astronauts aboard the space station provides unique, authentic experiences created to enhance student learning, performance and interest in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). The second spacewalk is scheduled for October 10, and the third for October 18.

The astronauts then will remove an operational LEE now attached to the transporter itself and bolt it in place on the end of the arm, tightening the six bolts and re-attaching the insulation.

Today's spacewalk marks the third of Bresnik's career and the first for Vande Hei.

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